These horrendous tales of the bizarre plucked from the realm of occultism, it would seem, have lost the potency and the capacity to shock. And the reason is not far-fetched. Nigerians have become inured to the stories of human disasters, killings arising from blood sucking hate, ethnic bigotry and religious intolerance to say nothing about outright stupidity occasioned by complexes of superiority and ego.
Bloodletting from Boko Haram and herdsmen or from those engaged in the ritual of death and cult members and kidnappers don’t seem to have the capacity any longer to produce the blood-cuddling tabloid sensation that used to grip our senses and sensibilities.
Not anymore. Now we have moved on. We are now a people beyond shock – unshakeable, steadfastly unmoved by tragedies, man-made as opposed to natural afflictions in other climes. It is beyond belief how much we have transformed. In a manner bordering on the gaudy, we now embrace and indeed relish the stories that would normally induce nausea and assault our senses – stories of bizarre happenings literally lifted straight from the horror movies of yore – those in the genre of the Dracula or the Exorcist.
In the modern day Nigeria, a land of the super-abundant civilisation populated by people with deep-rooted religiosity, boasting of egregious moral uprightness, someone appearing like an actor from the Nollywood, would casually, almost cheerfully, confess as one 35 –year old Shekari David did last week that he had just raped his own mother. He does it, the raping, habitually especially when he is drunk. And, in the name of all that is holy, this David seems permanently hooked on to the drink that makes his world go round. By his own confession, he has raped his mother twice in recent times, helped on by intoxicant with all its inebriating effect.
But out of a deep sense of revulsion, his wife, who couldn’t stand his sexual aberration any longer, moved out of her matrimonial home leaving the husband to his manic escapades. But David was not done. He got drunk again and again and went in search of his wife. He staggered to the mother-in-law’s safe haven where, in all probability, he had hoped to find his run-away wife. Lo and behold, he met, not his wife, but his mother-in- law sound asleep. And he jumped on her. He did to her what he had done to his own mother.
Police rescued him from the angry neighbours who wanted to beat the daylight out of him. And what did he have to say in self-defence? It was the usual narrative which is the only classical defence available to the beasts that are forced by fate to co-habit with normal human beings – it was the devil that pushed him. When drunk, he says, there is a spirit that urges him on!
The same explanation many depraved fathers have given for serially raping their own daughters – they couldn’t resist their beauty. As if it is any consolation, these odd fellows are in the good company of an East African widow who refused to be inherited by any of her late husband’s siblings. Instead she settled for the most bizarre – she got married to her own son.
The woman, a 40 year old Betty, a Zimbabwean widow of 12 years, said she had been living with her 23-year old son with whom she had had an unusual amorous relationship. Now pregnant for six months, she chose to marry her son and keep the family property securely within the family. Fair? Foul!
But back home, fate did not leave any such little niceties to chance. Not bothered about who should inherit their little earthly possessions, a pretty young woman, Mrs Rochelle Adetsav, apparently guided and goaded on by the ubiquitous devil, clubbed her husband to death and slaughtered her three little children. Apparently satisfied by her macabre accomplishment, she decided to take her own life.
This happened last week Friday in Benue State, the same Benue State which is currently in the news for all the wrong reasons. That is where father and son threw all decency to the wind and serially raped, Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje, a 13 year old girl in their care and custody, to death.
The current exploits of the devil – if truly it was the devil at work – with the artful cocktail combination of incest and paedophilia, murder and suicide, ritual killings, not to add terrorism by the Boko Haram and a series of high profile kidnappings, have managed to push other strange happenings to the back-burner.
Just for now. But still hanging fire is one kidnapping that has both the political and the religious, if not a traditional connotation, and the lethal storm it has generated may not die down so soon yet. In the midst of the recent Kaduna madness, a Kachia chief, according to the story that made the round, Dr Maiwada Galadima, was invited to a meeting summoned by Governor Nasir El-Rufai. On his way back to his kingdom, after the meeting, he was kidnapped along with his wife. After spending one week in captivity and having coughed out N10 million as ransom, the chief was still killed. His body was dumped on the Abuja – Kaduna road. Fiery pastors, smelling the foul odour of religious persecution, have taken to the pulpits. Now, their fury can’t be assuaged.
Finally the army had been able to locate the body of Major General Mohammed Idris Alkali, immediate past chief of administration of the Army. He was driving to Bauchi through Dura Du community in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State when he suddenly disappeared from the radar of civilisation. For nearly one month, the army’s search and rescue team intensified the search for the missing general on this road which has morphed into Nigeria’s own Bermuda triangle, a mystery axis of evil.
Shock discovery was made in a mystery pond. The soldiers excavated many vehicles from the pond. Despite stiff opposition from the natives, with their women clad in black, the Army soldiered on and finally, having drained the evil pond of all its water and other surreal contents, brought out the remains of the general. The rest is history.
The pertinent question to ask, however, is: where are our fiery pastors and assorted men of God who should condemn all the aforementioned evil practices with all the moral force at their disposal? Where are the Imams and other Islamic clerics who denounce the devil and preach the unity of God?
In Nigeria, with its dense population of churches and mosques, it stands to reason that evil cannot take root unless our religious leaders have now become nothing but hypocrites who serve God and Mammon at the same time and in equal measure to the extent that they have lost their moral right to condemn and shame evil.
Or is it that our leaders, temporal and spiritual, have made a covenant with the devil and have developed such a cosy relationship with it that they now choose to dine with it forgetting to use the long spoon? I am struggling to find an explanation for the depth we have fallen into – the moral decadence that has enveloped the country?
Yes, the phenomenon of evil – ubiquitous and intractable, devious and inexplicable – over the ages, has not ceased to excite passion and induce fear. Does it also attract fellowship and followership to the extent that Nigeria has become a tribe that has lost its head? Have our leaders, who are endowed with the moral and spiritual authority to lead the war against evil, given up so that evil, like corruption, should continue to gain traction and fight back fiercely and ferociously?